Supposed to be Solved in 35 Years, the Forgotten MIT Crypto Puzzle Was Finally Cracked

Supposed to be Solved in 35 Years, the Forgotten MIT Crypto Puzzle Was Finally Cracked

A time capsule protected by a cryptographic puzzle, designed by Ron Rivest in 1999, was supposed to take nearly 35 years to be cracked.

However, WIRED reported April 29, 2019, that nearly only 20 years later, on April 15, 2019, a self-taught Belgian programmer had solved the puzzle to open the time capsule.

Museum of Early Computer History

A celebrated architect, Frank Gehry, in April 1999, received a time capsule that contained the instructions to embed into the object then MIT’s Computer Science Lab. As reported, the time capsule was a museum of early computer history having 50 items contributed by Bill Gates, Tim Berners-Lee and others.

Ron Rivest, the designer of the time capsule, had mentioned that the puzzle wasn’t tricky. It’s just that it would take nearly 35 years to calculate the answer. However, almost 20 years later, on April 15, Bernard Fabrot, a self-taught Belgian programmer, solved the puzzle.

Inside the puzzle were instructions requesting that the solutions be sent to the director of the Laboratory for Computer Science, which, Fabrot told, no more existed. In 2003, the lab was absorbed by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), whose director Daniela Rus had never heard of the puzzle.

The solution to the cryptographic puzzle could be solved after running a squaring operation nearly 80 trillion times in a sequential manner. This meant it could not be done faster by deploying parallel operations or a supercomputer.

Then a mathematical operation was to be run that used the final number and a number mentioned in the instructions of the puzzle. This numerical solution would provide another number that could be translated into a congratulation message, which is to be revealed by Rivest and Fabrot on May 15.

Fabrot told that he stumbled on the puzzle in 2015 and had his computer running at all hours for almost three and a half years. The only occasions that he paused were during vacations or in the event of a power cut.

The Cryptophage project

Fabrot was unaware that he’d solved the puzzle before a team of computer scientists and cryptography experts, Cryptophage, by a margin of 25 days.

The Cryptophage team, led by Intel engineer Simon Peffers, was researching verifiable delay functions as a security mechanism for blockchains. The group considered Rivest’s puzzle to be an excellent way to test their research.

Beginning in early March, they calculated that per their chip’s computing efficiency, they’d have the correct answer by May 10. When the team reached out to MIT, Rivest informed them that Bernard Fabrot had started the calculation almost 42 months back and had already crossed the winning line.

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Swiss Luxury Hotel Accepts Bitcoin Showing Increase in Adoption, CEO Explains Motive

Guests at one of Switzerland’s top five-star hotels will be able to pay for services in bitcoin starting today.

The Dolder Grand announced April 2 – the day on which bitcoin price inflated by 23 percent – that it would begin accepting the cryptocurrency for room reservations, spa treatments, and even for a cup of coffee. Mark Jacob, the hotel’s managing director, told CNN Money that they were testing bitcoin for its widely-publicized potential in the payment industry, adding that they didn’t truly grasp the possibility of its success down the road.

“Whether exactly this [bitcoin payment] solution will be a permanent and sustainable solution, we don’t know,” stated Jacob. “When you are the first mover or part of the first ones that move, there is always a risk that the solution will not gain traction. But I think it would be a failure if you don’t give it a try.”

To Bitcoin or Not To Bitcoin

The comments followed cases in which retailers dropped bitcoin as a payment option after the service failed to gain traction. According to the blockchain firm Chainalysis, bitcoin’s use in commercial payments dropped as much as 80 percent in 2018. Some major companies, which earlier accepted bitcoins, discontinued that option citing price volatility and regulatory issues. Gaming company Steam, for instance, removed the cryptocurrency option after one year of adoption citing high transaction fees. Travel management portal Expedia and payment processor Stripe also followed cue.

But in Switzerland, businesses are still interested in foraying into bitcoin. Jacob thinks the positive sentiment comes from the opulent crypto-based surroundings, which ensures retailers get adequate regulatory and peer support when accepting bitcoins.

“It’s a fascination for the crypto valley in Zug and also the Zurich crypto community and the environment that is there and to support them also. I think Switzerland has always been a very innovative country. We, as a hotel, also benefit from that very directly in terms it drives businesses to Switzerland.”

But that does not bar skeptics from increasing its attacks on bitcoin. Oliver Herren at the Digitec Galaxus Group, Switzerland’s largest online retail stores, is one of such hardcore critics. The portal’s chief innovation officer said bitcoin’s on-chain transactions were far more expensive than a traditional payment service. He also targeted bitcoin for its lack of scalability – the ability to process transactions as faster as Visa or MasterCard.

“None of the blockchains scale enough. But maybe I have not invested enough time and therefore understand too little how the blockchain ecosystem works,” Herren said.

Digitec Galaxus Group, like the Dolder Grand, started accepting bitcoins this March on trial basis.

What’s Next?

Bitcoin’s depressive performance as an asset in 2018 pushed adoption lower. However, the cryptocurrency is posting a strong bullish case this year, which could mean that more organizations would want to adopt it. According to Lucas Betschart, the president of the Bitcoin Association Switzerland, the merchant adoption is set to go higher. He stated:

“I expect more Swiss companies to accept bitcoin over the next two years to attract tourists who save money by paying bitcoin.”

微软Outlook数据泄露 加密货币用户成黑客目标




微软用户Jevon Ritmeester透露:




Ritmeester近期在科技论坛上发表的一篇帖子中写道,他是在查看了自己邮箱里的垃圾邮件后,才发现有人同时提出了这两项请求。在这篇帖子中,他补充说,他损失的比特币超过了1 BTC,当前比特币的价格在5200美元左右。


Reddit用户shinratechlabs也说过,“这直接导致我的账号被黑。”他说自己损失了“25,000 in crypto”,但不清楚是丢了2.5万个币还是损失了2.5万法币。












美国时间 4 月 29 日,特斯拉 CEO 埃隆.马斯克(Elon Musk)发布了一条只有一个单词的推特:Ethereum(以太坊)。


今年4月,马斯克对“狗狗币”(Dogecoin)大加赞叹:“太酷了,狗狗币也许是我最喜欢的加密货币。”并把账号简介从改称“狗狗币前 CEO”。



马斯克又在推特上“喊单”了。他发出了一个单词:Ethereum(以太坊)。区块链媒体CCN称,马斯克发推后不久,ETH 价格扭转跌势,回升上涨。


4 月 3 日,马斯克对“狗狗币”(Dogecoin)大加赞叹:“太酷了,狗狗币也许是我最喜欢的加密货币。”并把账号简介从改称“狗狗币前 CEO”。同时,狗狗币价格从0.019元,瞬间上涨到0.025元,涨幅愈31%。


但与众人理解的喊单不同,马斯克更改账号的举动似乎与此前狗狗币在推特上发起的一项投票相关。该投票是关于给狗狗币选出一个 CEO,最后马斯克以49%得票率超过Metal钱包CEO马歇尔、以太坊创始人V神等人当选,有人告诉马斯克:“你不能拒绝”。





大多数人对马斯克的印象可能停留在2018 年 2 月 7 日,伴随 David Bowie 的《Space Oddity》,Space X公司的“重型猎鹰”火箭带着樱桃红特斯拉跑车 Roadster 缓缓滑入太空,马斯克被称作改写历史的男人。

而粉丝对马斯克的印象是,一边在地球普及清洁能源,一边又计划殖民火星,同时还在美国地下挖着管道。一位Reddit 用户将马斯克形容为“会和爱迪生、福特等伟大人物齐名,同时又是最接近真实版托尼—斯塔克的人物”。









据华尔街日报统计,马斯克2016年至2017年平均每月发布94条推特,到了2018年年中,他每月发推数达到 400 条。从发推时间看,他无时不刻不盯着推特。


美国时间2018年8月7日,马斯克在洛杉矶家中醒来,做了一会运动,开着特斯拉Model S前往机场的途中,他发布了一条消息,考虑以每股420美元的价格将公司私有化。



马斯克被指涉嫌操纵股价,SEC 立即启动了调查。




今年 2 月 19 日,马斯克发推称:“特斯拉 2011 年造了0台车,2019 年要造 50 万台左右”,对自己过往 8 年的成绩颇为自豪。但“50 万”这个数字,与特斯拉1月30日公布财报中发布的预期“最多40万台”并不吻合。SEC 随后对特斯拉多轮邮件质询后决定向法院提出指控,罪名是马斯克“藐视法庭”。








去年 5 月,马斯克在推特上说:“那就发加密糖果吧。”讽刺巴菲特不懂虚拟货币只知道吃糖,然而这一切和虚拟货币并没有关系。

今年2月,马斯克接受 ARK Invest  博客采访时表示,密码货币在传送价值方面比纸币好太多,比特币的架构设计非常聪明,但另一方面,密码货币的创造过程过于消耗能源。

去年曾有一家叫做 Blokt 的外媒透露,美国内华达州一家区块链技术公司Blockchains LLC宣布与特斯拉CEO马斯克合作,共同在美国最大工业园Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center(TRIC)建一个试点性质的智慧城市项目,建立在以太坊上。




“你是中本聪吗?”在推特上,一位叫做 Ikir 的网友这样问马斯克,马斯克始终没有回复。网友随即自证:“他是的,因为他一直在挑战自己。”


Crypto Crime May Have Cost Sector $1.2 Billion in Q1, Says Report

Losses arising from cryptocurrency hacks and fraud may have reached as high as $1.2 billion in the first quarter of the year, new research from blockchain analytics firm CipherTrace suggests.

The total figure includes over $356 million lost from exchanges (including QuadrigaCX’s $195 million) and over $850 million alleged to have been lost from the Bitfinex exchange by the New York Attorney General’s office last week.

It’s worth noting, however, that Bitfinex has claimed the funds have been frozen by various authorities at a payments company and that it is working to retrieve them.

CipherTrace said Tuesday in its “Q1 2019 Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering Report” that the estimated first quarter loss is almost 71 percent of the $1.7 billion loss seen over the whole of 2018.

“These thefts only represent the losses that are visible,” the startup said, adding that the real number of cryptocurrency losses was likely much higher.

Lack of clear regulations in the cryptocurrency sector is the main reason behind the rise in thefts, CipherTrace said, though more clarity is expected in the near future.

According to the report:

“A tsunami of tough new global anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terror financing (CTF) regulations will roll over the crypto landscape in the coming year.”

CipherTrace further highlighted what it considers a major gap in the current regulatory environment with respect to cross-border crypto payments.

“An analysis of 164 million BTC transactions revealed that cross-border payments from U.S. exchanges to offshore exchanges increased from 45% from the twelve months ending Q1 2017 to 66% in the twelve months ending Q1 2019,” it said.

Finally, cyber criminals are said to have increasingly adopted new techniques such as kidnapping and insider misappropriations to steal cryptocurrency from individuals and companies in the first quarter.

Hacker image via Shutterstock 

Five Canadian Banks Employ SecureKey Blockchain System to Identify Users

Five Canadian banks will be employing a blockchain-based user identification system developed by tech startup SecureKey Technologies, Bloomberg reports on May 1.

Per the report, the Verified.Me digital identity system is now available to clients of the Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Desjardins Group. The service will soon be available to users of the services provided by the Bank of Montreal and National Bank of Canada as well, while Sun Life Financial will reportedly be the first North American insurer to use the system.

Bloomberg quotes SecureKey CEO Greg Wolfond as stating that he expects the service to be used by consumers to prove their identity to access and open bank accounts, as well as government services, by the end of 2019. He also noted:

“They’re going to be able to share their data in a secure and trusted way, which they never really could before.”

The adoption of this new identification system is reportedly part of a shift towards open banking — letting consumers share their financial data with other companies — called for by the Canadian Bankers Association.

As Cointelegraph reported last month, mainstream media corporation Thomson Reuters was awarded a patent for a blockchain-based identity management system.

Also, at the beginning of April, it has been reported that, in an apparent first, global online payments firm PayPal has made an investment in a blockchain startup — one that focuses on leveraging the technology to give users more control over their digital identities.

Dutch Central Bank Will Keep Embracing DLT, But To-Date Findings Are Not All Positive

The Netherlands’ central bank will continue to experiment with blockchain, but its to-date findings are “not that positive,” according to the bank’s director of payments. Finance publication The Banker reported on the comments on May 1.

Petra Hielkema, director of payments and market infrastructures at the De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), claimed that embracing new technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) will be a key direction in the DNB Payments Strategy 2018-2021.

Hielkema urged that central banks should keep developing and invest in new technologies in order to find out how to use them safely. While expressing confidence in the high potential of distributed ledger technology (DLT) applications in cross border payments, the DNB’s executive still stated that innovation is necessary.

Hielkema further outlined a number of problems exposed by DLT based on the bank’s blockchain-related experience over the past three years. As such, the Dutch central bank faced DLT imitations such as capacity shortages, inefficiency caused by high energy consumption and a lack of full certainty that a payment is completed, the article notes.

So far, the bank has reportedly developed and assessed four prototypes based on DLT.

Last year, Hielkema stated that cryptocurrencies are not real money, but the bank has no plans to ban them.

Earlier this year, Pete Hoekstra, the Netherlands’ Minister of Finance, received official advice suggesting the adoption of a licensing system for crypto-related services.

The Rise of Economic Development Zones:  A Way To Mitigate Crypto Taxation?

cryptocurrency economic development zones Bitcoin

The Rise of Economic Development Zones:  A Way To Mitigate Crypto Taxation?

Taxation frustrates many in the cryptocurrency community. Investor capital gains along with Coinbase’s well-documented jockeying with the IRS, taxes continue to be an ongoing concern.

There is some good news however on the U.S. tax front with respect to these cryptocurrency valuations gains.

Embedded in the highly debated $1.5 trillion dollar tax cut signed by President Trump into the law in late 2017 is an esoteric section addressing the tax treatment of real estate and other tax assets. Known as the Investing in Opportunity Act and Opportunity Zone Investment program, it offers savvy investors the opportunity to defer and eliminate future capital gains through Qualified Opportunity Zones and Qualified Opportunity Funds.

So what are Opportunity Zones? In short, they are land parcels in low-income, geographic census tracts that have been designated for investment opportunities and favorable capital gains treatment.

The Qualified Opportunity Funds provide an investment vehicle for these zones. To obtain the maximum tax benefit, investors must hold monies in an Opportunity Zone Fund or property for 10 years

The Cryptotization of Opportunity Zones

Longtime bitcoin advocate Charlie Shrem recently opined on Twitter about the possibilities tied to Bitcoin and Qualified Opportunity Zones.



San Francisco blockchain innovator Jomari Peterson is a strong advocate of this notion. He, in fact, is birthing a new project known as Gama Ventures, a blockchain centric Qualified Opportunity Zone fund seeking to invest in the growth and development of distressed communities.

The goal?  To facilitate revenue sharing and micro-equity investments opportunities fueling commercial development, housing, health/wellness initiatives, and free localized WiFi for targeted, economically distressed areas. Asked about the potential benefits to investors, Peterson rattled them off in rapid-fire succession.

Defer capital gains

Reduce capital gains

Eliminate capital gains in future gains

Attracting Cryptocurrency Holders and Investors

He believes that these Opportunity Zone investment opportunities hold particular appeal for high net-worth crypto holders who remain under the edicts of U.S. tax law.

Says Peterson:

The repatriation of crypto funds from overseas offers a unique investment strategy for those looking to mitigate their tax liability while developing and maintain their long term wealth. They can make a meaningful impact by putting their money to work in a productive way in communities of need.

Through the use of blockchain, Gama Ventures is erecting an ecosystem of smart contracts and automated systems to foster transparency, access, and flexibility for its stakeholders. The goal, says Peterson,

is to coalesce a community of partners around an operational model that fosters multi-stakeholder participation in opportunity fund management.

Policymakers, too, are hopeful that these zones will create a much-needed flow of investment monies toward low-income communities throughout the nation, including in the unincorporated U.S. territory of Puerto Rico where large swaths of opportunity zones currently exist.

Peterson says that his extensive work in aligning economic development and cryptocurrency for the benefit of marginalized communities and populations gives him an uncommon lens for extolling the benefits of Qualified Opportunity Zones.

I am a huge advocate of operating within the regulatory framework, particularly when it involves not only tax advantages to crypto investors, but significant benefits to low-income communities here in the U.S. I see this as a unique win-win scenario.

The content published on Bitcoinist is intended for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. We strongly advise our readers to “do your own research” before investing in any type of program or project, particularly those that guarantee profits.

Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay

Truffle Raises $3 Million to Expand Operations; Spins-off from ConsenSys

Truffle Raises $3 Million to Expand Operations; Spins-off from ConsenSys

In an exclusive reveal to Forbes, April 29, 2019, Truffle announced it is spinning off from ConsenSys and has raised money to expand into enterprise-grade solutions. Following the spin-off, Joseph Lubin will join as a board member.

Bringing Blockchain to the Corporate World

When the Truffle Suite first launched, it was meant to solve a pain point for Ethereum developers that spent a large portion of their time deploying on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Truffle Suite, which has been a star on ConsenSys’ belt will now be spun off to provide enterprise-grade solutions for smart contract deployment.

With the pubic Ethereum blockchain already being leveraged by the likes of JP Morgan, whose permissioned blockchain is a fork of Ethereum, the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) is also shifting to the Ethereum ledger.

DTCC is planning to move significant amounts of their data onto AxCore, a proprietary blockchain from Goldman Sachs, by utilizing their Ethereum-based blockchain along with JP Morgan backed Axoni. Truffle announced that it is integrating with AxCore to provide easy smart contract deployment and development capabilities. They are scheduled to start processing $10 million worth of transactions for the DTCC’s Trade Information Warehouse.

While this doesn’t mean these entities will be using the Ethereum cryptocurrency, it does mean large projects will now be more likely than ever to build on the Ethereum blockchain.

Enterprise Solutions and Smart Contracts

The potential for smart contracts in business dealings is widely known, with the only things missing for companies to adopt this method being functioning enterprise-grade services and regulatory certainty. While the former is still some time away, many projects are focusing their efforts toward providing solutions that target companies.

Truffle is a well-known integrator and can reduce smart contract deployment time without compromising the quality of the contract. As reported by BTCManager, developers on Ethereum were mass-adopting Truffle as a testing framework. This was because, amongst several other features, developers can rely on Truffle for network management in the implementation of smart contracts over public and private networks.

These functions make a world of difference in a corporate setting where actionable use case takes precedence over everything else. Further, with an industry stalwart like Joseph Lubin to guide the company on its expansion, there is no doubt that Truffle can become a successful enterprise-grade development tool.

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